ASME E-Fest West

On the last weekend of spring break, members of CSU’s ASME student chapter, armed with a robot, poster, and presentation, made their way to the University of Las Vegas for the 2017 ASME E-Fest West. This was the third year our students were able to attend the conference and the second year we presented at the robotics competition.

As part of the robotics competition, our robot was tasked with lifting weight, throwing a tennis ball, hitting a golf ball, racing a specified distance, and climbing stairs. Despite a small budget, our team came in sixth place out of 11 teams. Team members look forward to bringing new insight and design ideas to next year’s competition.

Our students also entered the Old Guard competition with a presentation on the physics and engineering of boomerangs and a poster of a mechanical wood burning furnace system.

“Overall, it was a great trip to ASME E-Fest West, and we want to thank UNLV for their hospitality. A big thank you to ASME’s Centennial Section for sponsoring our student section to attend this conference,” said Collin Dieckgraeff, president of CSU’s ASME student chapter.

All Aboard!

Dr. Bryan Willson (sixth from the right) pictured with the ship’s captain, admin team, and officers.

Last semester, a handful of CSU students voyaged into uncharted academic territory. They took their books to a place where extracurricular activities include world exploration; classmates are roommates; the classroom is a ship; and campus is the open waters. Semester at Sea is one of the unique academic journeys a University student can embark on, and it is easy to see why.

It was no surprise to find Dr. Bryan Willson, ME professor, in Cape Town, South Africa, last semester, as a port lecturer shedding light on social enterprise and how it influences various industries. In 2014, he was on the CSU team that won the bid to host SAS. Now, CSU runs the academics, counseling, medical team, registrar, and dean of students in partnership with the Institute of Shipboard Education.

Dr. Bryan Willson (left) presenting to the shipboard community in the “Cross Currents” evening seminar series.

“My original major in college was in ship design,” said Dr. Willson, “I am also active internationally, love the educational field, and enjoyed bringing together multiple passions during Semester at Sea. It was a blast!”

Each semester, the ship hosts up to 30 faculty members and 600 students from all around the globe. The most recent voyage sailed from San Diego and docked at ports across the world, including Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, and Morocco, before ending in Germany. Students end up forming strong bonds as they partake in unique learning experiences and extracurricular activities together, 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

CSU is a leader in sustainability and carried that focus to SAS. “I lectured on topics such as ocean energy, health impacts of cookstoves, and social enterprise,” Dr. Willson said.

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Students spend five or six days at sea traveling to the next port, and at each port there are required activities, based on the courses each student is taking, and optional activities as well. “There were a number of CSU students on the ship; there were engineering students from other universities, but none from CSU,” he observed. He also noted that he would like to see SAS be a more common activity for CSU engineering students due to the worldly experiences the program offers.

If you are interested in expanding your boundaries outside the confines of campus, discover SAS and immerse yourself in pure adventure! Learn more at

All-star mech student? NCAA shot put titleholder? The ultimate multi tasker? ALL OF THE ABOVE

Photo provided by Mostafa Hassan.

At the March 2017 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas, ME junior, Mostafa Hassan, dominated and threw the shot put 69 feet, 9.5 inches, making him CSU’s first-ever national champion in shot put, and the program’s first national champion since 2005. He crushed his competition by at least 4½ feet and had the four best throws of any athlete at the meet. He also earned his third All-America honor.

“It’s an amazing feeling when all the hard work pays o_ ,” Hassan said, “and you reach a goal that you have been working on for so long.” The native of Cairo, Egypt, has been training in shot put for the past seven years and has competed in three world championships. “The most important thing for me is time management,” Hassan said. “I allocate time for studying, training, eating, and relaxing.”

In the classroom, Hassan’s most memorable experience was his Mech 202 fi nal design competition with Dr. Ben Gadomski. “Dr. Gadomski is always there when I need help on something,” he said. Hassan decided to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering because as a child, he was always interested in how things were made, and, when the time came, CSU’s engineering program seemed like the best fit. “Also, Fort Collins is a great place to live,” he added.

After graduation, he plans to look for a career in the manufacturing sector but, until then, he is going to continue crushing the books and shot put. He also has a realistic shot at competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo!

Congrats, Mostafa!

Ciao, Chriselda!

Chriselda Engel pictured in front of the Pisa Baptistery of St. John in Pisa, Italy.

When beloved undergraduate adviser, Chriselda Engel retired in 2015, the entire department came together to express their gratitude. ME students, faculty, and sta raised $4,825 to send Engel and her husband, Chris, on a well-deserved dream vacation.


Florence, Italy, before a storm.

Soon after, the Engels made plans for a two-week, Italian getaway. “We thoroughly enjoyed all of the places we visited in Italy including Florence, Tuscany, Pisa, the Cinque Terre region, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast,” Engel said. Florence was one of their favorite spots. “We loved that we could easily walk everywhere in Florence to explore and visit key sites, such as Il Duomo, the Accademia Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Basilica of Santa Croce.”

Besides the gorgeous art and architecture, the Engels had many glorious foodie adventures, “Wow,” said Engel. “The fresh seafood in the coastal regions was great. I have to say that all of the pasta dishes were incredible.”

Chriselda Engel and her husband posing in the Cinque Terre region of Italy.

Whether it was charming train rides from one city to another, conversing with welcoming natives, or taking in the lovely sights and tastes of Italy, it’s a vacation the Engels will never forget!

Remembering Professor Doug Hittle

A colleague to some, a mentor to others, but a pioneer to all. This is how Dr. Doug Hittle, mechanical engineering professor emeritus, will be remembered by the department. His professional contributions, as well as his integrity and sense of humor, made an everlasting impression on those with whom he worked.

Doug Hittle, Professor, Mechanical Engineering Faculty, February 21, 2008

It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of mechanical engineering professor emeritus, Dr. Douglas Carl Hittle, who was a faculty member in the department from 1989 to 2010. Dr. Hittle died earlier this year, on May 4, at the age of 70. He was raised in Champaign, Ill., but, was born in Fort Collins, Colo., in 1947.

In 1989, he returned to Fort Collins to teach at CSU and complete the last leg of his already-accomplished career. He retired in 2010, boasting numerous achievements in the field of environmental conservation.

Dr. Hittle attended the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for his B.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and M.S. in environmental engineering. He began his career in 1969 at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois as an engineer. Other career highlights included research in the environmental protection and energy conservation fields at the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory for more than 13 years. At USA CERL, Dr. Hittle received the Achievement Award for developing a computer program that estimated the performance of buildings and their energy systems; the BLAST program is widely recognized and used internationally. Also while at the USA CERL, he built and operated a large HVAC test facility as a research team leader, among a variety of other research initiatives.

In 1986, Dr. Hittle joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University in Indiana as an associate professor. There, he conducted research in building energy systems and taught thermodynamics. He participated in the development of new course material and initiated and supervised the design and construction of classroom demonstrations.

Dr. Hittle is survived by his daughters Jessica Marshall and Jocelyn Hittle; former wife, Anita Hittle; grandchildren; brothers; and many nieces and nephews. “Dad was both no-nonsense and a big fan of nonsense – he had high standards when it came to his work, but loved to crack jokes,” said Jocelyn Hittle. “We will miss him.” In his personal time, he enjoyed woodworking, travel adventures, good food, and exploring Colorado’s mountains. His family remembers his happy-go-lucky personality and his passion toward his professional endeavors. “He always put us to work helping him build and fix things. He was a mechanical engineer at home too,” remembered Marshall.

In 1989, Dr. Hittle joined the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at CSU. Along with teaching thermal science and control systems in the mechanical engineering department, he was the director of the Solar Energy Applications Laboratory where he focused on solar energy systems, energy conservation, air conditioning system control, desiccant cooling, and energy system simulation. “He expanded the research areas at the lab to include building systems as well as solar energy,” ME Professor Allan Kirkpatrick remembered. “We worked together on problems involving cold-air distribution and glove boxes. In addition to being technically very rigorous, Doug was insistent on high-quality presentations.”

Right before retiring, he took an interest in artificial intelligence applied to buildings, phase change fabrics, and thermal storage floor tile. Over the years, his lab gained sponsors such as the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, Outlast Technologies Inc., and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers.

In 2005, Dr. Hittle became the director for the Industry Assessment Center at CSU and the associate director of the Colorado Wind Application Center for Colorado. During this time, he also developed a new course in wind power engineering.

Supporting other faculty was always a priority for Dr. Hittle, and that is evident when hearing his colleagues share their fond and funny memories of their times together. “The mechanical engineering faculty could always count on him to hold us to the highest standards and call out the elephant in the room, while making us laugh at the same time,” remembered ME department head, Dr. Susan James. “He was a great mentor, colleague, and friend who will be truly missed.” “I recall he would offer very good suggestions after all of my lectures. He had a sharp intellect,” recalled ME Professor Walajabad Sampath who taught the photovoltaic portion of one of Dr. Hittle’s courses.

“Dr. Hittle required that reports to sponsors be in white notebooks with an illustrative cover. I adopted this scheme, and for the last 20 years, all of my notebooks and reports are in ‘Hittle format’!” recalled Dr. Kirkpatrick.

“Doug was a great and passionate energy engineer who set very high standards for his research team and students,” remembered ME professor, Dr. Bryan Willson. “I was the first one in the department to have a cell phone in 1992. He started calling me ‘gadget boy’!”

“Continuing his influential mark in the department through a fund would have been important to Dr. Hittle,” said Dr. James. Dr. Hittle’s daughters wish to establish a fund in his honor to support study and research addressing global challenges in sustainable energy.

Please consider making an online gift in memory of Dr. Hittle, using the link below, and your gift will be directed to the Scott College of Engineering Memorial. Once the work to establish a fund in his name is completed, your gift will be moved to the new fund named for Dr. Hittle.

Student with a Purpose – Haley King

What goes into being a successful engineering student at CSU? Just ask Haley King, mechanical and biomedical engineering senior and research assistant. King shares experiences through her own lens and sheds light on the importance of having goals, getting involved, and making memories along the way.

Working on developing a model leg for our canine exoskeleton senior design project.

Working on developing a model leg for our canine exoskeleton senior design project.

King is on target to graduate in just a few short months, however, it would be unlike her to focus on just one goal at a time. Before she walks across the stage, King wants to be admitted into a graduate school with a rehabilitation robotics/exoskeleton lab as she is passionate about pursuing her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a focus on biorobotics for rehabilitation. She is determined to present a top-notch senior design project on a Canine Orthotronic Mobility System. King also wants to submit her undergraduate research from the Cardiovascular and Biofluid Mechanics Lab to the Journal of Fluid Mechanics. Last but not least, she is determined to get in at least 20 days of snowboarding before the season ends!

Throughout her undergrad years, King not only had a full class load, but maintained a strong presence in college organizations and the community. Currently, she is the Activities Co-Chair of the Engineering College Council and a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. Last year, she was the Career Fair Liaison and helped plan CSU’s engineering career fairs. King was also elected as one of the Senior Design Showcase Committee Heads. She was a member of the CSU NCAA Varsity Golf Team for 3 years and is always involved in intramural sports. King lends a helping hand to community initiatives as well – planning fundraisers, participating in Cans Around the Oval, and tutoring and participating in STEM events for elementary and middle school students, are some of her favorites.

King attended the 2015 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference with her Cardiovascular and Biofluid Mechanics Lab to present some of her undergraduate research.

King attended the 2015 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference with her Cardiovascular and Biofluid Mechanics Lab to present some of her undergraduate research.

With her days at CSU dwindling, King reminisces on her favorite engineering courses, professors, and experiences. Dynamics of Machines with Dr. Stansloski, Mechatronics with Dr. Alciatore, and Problem Based Learning with Dr. Dasi are all courses where she learned something about the career she envisions, or confidently applied her skills for the first time. “Last summer I had a mechanical engineering internship with Ekso Bionics in California working on rehab, military, and industrial exoskeletons – definitely the coolest engineering experience I’ve had thus far. From my desk, I regularly watched paralyzed individuals walk with the help of the Ekso rehab exoskeleton. It was incredible.”

After class and on the weekends, it wouldn’t be unusual to find King reenergizing in the beautiful Colorado outdoors. Whether it’s trail-running or mountain biking at Horsetooth, camping in the mountains, climbing a 14er, or snowboarding, she seizes every moment to its full potential. Grabbing a bite at her favorite lunch spot, the Pickle Barrel on Laurel, is a timed 8-minute walk from the engineering building and her preferred way to refuel. “Pickle Barrel has some killer sandwiches. Get the Funky Punky, just trust me,” King added.

One of her favorite hikes - Lily Pad Lake off the I-70 at Silverthorne with incredible views.

One of her favorite hikes – Lily Pad Lake off the I-70 at Silverthorne with incredible views.

King’s undergraduate accomplishments are not only extensive, but impressive, and just the beginning of a fulfilling journey ahead. “I’ve had an incredible time here at CSU thanks to classmates and professors. As a senior I’m definitely ready to graduate, but I wouldn’t be graduating if not for some of the incredible relationships I’ve cultivated here. I originally came to CSU from a small town in Indiana after being recruited by the golf team, but now I can’t imagine being anywhere else for my undergrad engineering education. The CSU Engineering Program has thoroughly prepared me for a career, and I’ll definitely miss the network I’ve formed and the fantastic culture of Fort Collins.”

We are proud of King and all of our graduates, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for each and every one of them!

Mechanical Engineering Professor Elected Mayor of Fort Collins

Dr. Troxell featured above in 1978.

Dr. Troxell featured above in 1978.

Mechanical engineering associate professor Wade Troxell has green and gold running through his veins. He was not only born in Fort Collins, Colorado, but grew up next to the Colorado State University campus, attended Poudre School District, attended CSU for his bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees, was a CSU student-athlete, has been a mechanical engineering professor at CSU for 30 years, served on the Fort Collins city council for 8 years, and was recently elected mayor of Fort Collins.

During his early days at CSU, Mayor Troxell was the long snapper on the Ram football team. He snapped the then-longest field goal in NCAA history, 63 yards, against the University of Arizona. His leadership skills grew apparent when he became starting center and co-captain of the team his senior year. “One of my favorite football memories was when we were playing against the University of Wyoming in the Border War my sophomore year. The University of Wyoming middle linebacker, Paul Nunu, was an All-American that year. Two weeks prior to that game, he was National Defensive Player of the Week. During the game, I kept him to only a couple of tackles and we won the game. I received the game ball as Offensive Player of the Game for my play against him. “

Along with football, Mayor Troxell excelled academically in CSU’s engineering program and graduated in 1980. He went on to complete his masters and doctorate at CSU, and in 1987, he attended Edinburgh University for a post-doc degree for a year. In 1981 while he was completing his masters degree, he taught his first class – Mechanics of Machines laboratory (ME 324L) – little did he know, that would be the first of many. “I enjoy discussions with students in my graduate level courses when they are challenged with new concepts and the “light bulb goes off” to a whole new way of thinking about the intelligent control of robots.”

1976 CSU Football team. Dr. Troxell is number 55.

1976 CSU Football team. Dr. Troxell is number 55.

Mayor Troxell’s commitment to improving Fort Collins led him to serving on the city council for many years, following in his father’s footsteps. In April 2015, he was elected Mayor. “Fort Collins is great place to live, work, play, raise a family, start a company, do business, to learn or do research, and enjoy a great community – and this I know from experience! Fort Collins makes a lot of “best of” lists and we are on the cusp of our golden era. I look forward to what the future will bring to this great city.”

Please join us in congratulating our faculty member on his fantastic achievements in this great city!